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Accattone (1961)

 -  Drama  -  4 April 1968 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 4,131 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 25 critic

A pimp with no other means to provide for himself finds his life spiraling out of control when his prostitute is sent to prison.

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(story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Accattone (1961)

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Vittorio "Accattone" Cataldi
Franca Pasut ...
Stella
Silvana Corsini ...
Maddalena
Paola Guidi ...
Ascenza
Adriana Asti ...
Amore
Luciano Conti ...
Il Moicano
Luciano Gonini ...
Piede D'Oro
Renato Capogna ...
Renato
Alfredo Leggi ...
Papo Hirmedo
Galeazzo Riccardi ...
Cipolla
Leonardo Muraglia ...
Mammoletto
Giuseppe Ristagno ...
Peppe
Roberto Giovannoni ...
The German
Mario Cipriani ...
Balilla
Roberto Scaringella ...
Cartagine
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Storyline

In a seedy section of Rome, Vittorio Cataldi - "Accattone" ("beggar" in Italian) to those that know him - lives off the avails of prostitution, Maddalena being his one and only girl. He is married to Ascenza with who he has one young son named Iaio, but he does not live with them - they who live with her father and brother - provide for them, or play any important part of their lives. He generally hangs out with his similarly slack life friends playing cards and drinking. His source of income is threatened when Maddalena is injured being hit by a motorcyclist, then beaten by rivals of his, which leads to her being arrested and jailed for a year. Largely because of Iaio, Accattone contemplates going straight and getting a real job. Then he meets Stella, a young innocent woman who has had a hard life, but who is not as naive to the ways of the world as she first appears. Accattone falls in love with her, but as the thought of working a steady job now becomes abhorrent, contemplates ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

4 April 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Accattone  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

ITL 50 (estimated)
 »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was Bernardo Bertolucci's first work in movies. He was an assistant director. See more »

Quotes

Vittorio "Accattone" Cataldi: [singing] Just give me the will to work. Work for me dad, I'd rather shirk.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Bellissimo: Immagini del cinema italiano (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

St Matthew Passion
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
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User Reviews

 
Free radical
12 June 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Accattone is a Roman pimp who lives off his girlfriend Maddalena's earnings. Pasolini's cheeky aim is to put forward this young man as a modern saint. To this end he lathers Bach's St Matthew's Passion (inspired by the Apostle's experience of the crucifixion of Christ) over scenes of Accattone's life. Indeed in one of Accattone's first scenes he's shown devouring a slice of tomato, displayed horizontally as if a cardinal's galero, whilst an sculpture of perhaps a guardian angel can be seen over his shoulder in the distance (an anti-clerical pro-Christ stance seems to be a consistent theme for Pasolini). Later, a prophecy regarding Accattone's descent is eerily similar to Christ's pronunciation of Peter's forthcoming triple renunciation.

The film reminded me of a DH Lawrence poem (elliptically titled Democracy):

"I love the sun in any man / when I see it between his brows / clear, and fearless, even if tiny // But when I see these grey successful men / so hideous and corpse-like, utterly sunless, / like gross successful slaves mechanically waddling / then I am more than radical, I want to work a guillotine

...

I feel that when people have gone utterly sunless / they shouldn't exist."

Whatever Accattone is, he's not sunless; when he tries out the world of work (legitimate work involving labour), he becomes Vittorio, his Christian name, and the light goes out. The film reminds me very much of Fassbinder's Gods of the Plague in that sense, young men with brio but no skills or education who, given the choice, between drudgery or crime, choose crime. Both films polemicise against urban post-industrial capitalist societies, which have become increasingly removed from the milieu in which humanity evolved and is "designed" to cope with. When Accattone compares the chore of lifting rolls of iron with the horrors of Buchenwald the film goes a little over the top.

Of course someone viewing Accattone and his friends through less of a haze of desire than the director might think that they were just a bunch of jerks. Undeniably though, Pasolini is a great poet, and there's evidence of things to come here, the film whilst looking largely Bertoluccian (he was the assistant director), has the occasional master shot, for example the rolling hills and valley in the dream sequence, par with Leonardo in quality of composition and symbolism; the countryside here representing an idealised rural precursor to Accattone's slum existence.

I also applaud Pasolini for taking his arguments beyond class, Accattone's group of spongers contains educated men as well as dunces, and they are equally disdainful of the ruling class as they are of proletarians.


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